Princeton University Press Europe at the Oxford Literary Festival 2014


By Hannah Dummett, Princeton University Press Europe intern

McCall SmithLast Sunday marked the end of the 2014 Oxford Literary Festival: “bigger, better and more ambitious than ever”. A whirlwind nine days of authors, talks, photographers, book signings and  lunches, and amongst all of it the Princeton authors met with full auditoriums and avid audiences, often followed by a glass of Prosecco in the green room.

The Soul of the World author Roger Scruton had the audience in stitches of laughter (perhaps not what you’d expect from a talk by a philosopher) as he shed light on his idea of the sacred, at the same time as shamelessly, and hilariously, plugging his new books. Meanwhile, David Edmonds entered a lively discussion with Nigel Warburton. The audience were eager to join in and soon the topic of moral dilemma had led to a debate on the fate of flight MH370.

As one of the festival’s better-known authors, Alexander McCall Smith was hounded by the ‘literary paparazzi’, and one of our publicists was even coerced into being used as a photographer’s assistant (read: prop-holder). Over at Christ Church, Averil Cameron took us back more than 2500 years in time and explained why Byzantium is key to our understanding of other historical periods. Michael Scott argued his own case for the Greek city of Delphi – and gave us all a reason to visit this summer.

His book may be over 800 pages long, but Robert Bartlett kept things succinct and made sure that his audience were keen to discover what the other 700 pages hold in store. He was even awarded a printed apology from the Oxford Mail’s Jeremy Smith after he commented on Bartlett’s “modest attire” while introducing the talk. Husband and wife astronomer/authors Jacqueline and Simon Mitton, both struck down with a virus picked up on a recent cruise, put on a brave face despite their illness and managed to plunge their audience into the depths of the history of the universe, visiting far-away galaxies via new-born stars and black holes.

The increasingly relevant topic of narcissism and self-love was examined by Simon Blackburn, discussing his new book Mirror, Mirror, and political journalist Edmund Fawcett kept the audience listening with an absorbing talk on differing forms of liberalism. To top it off, the “charming, charismatic” Ian Goldin gave an excellent lecture on how the recent financial crash could have an extreme effect on a wide range of factors in our everyday lives. We’ve been out of the office again this week, this time for London Book Fair – the fun is non-stop this month!


The 2013 Bird Migration Series

The Warbler GuideAs the first day of fall fast approaches (September 22nd to be exact), bird migrations are already starting. To note this annual phenomenon, we are celebrating during the months of September and October with giveaways, free downloads, online quizzes, gorgeous pictures, and countless blog posts from some of the best bird writers we know.

To kick off this winged adventure, we’re taking to the skies with a Rafflecopter giveaway event!

Our prize package includes a copy of The Warbler GuideThe Crossley ID Guide: Raptors, and How to Be a Better Birder, a pair of Zeiss TERRA binoculars, and the audio companion for The Warbler Guide.

The Crossley ID GuideHow to win? Visit this post for details, but there are numerous ways to win, including liking any of the three books Facebook pages, emailing us at, signing up for our email alerts for Bird and Natural History Titles at,or tweeting at @PrincetonNature or at any of the author’s Twitter pages (@IDCrossleyGuide or @The WarblerGuide). The winner will be selected at the beginning of October.

Plus weHow To Be A Better Birder have two free downloads that are available at our blog site:

Crossley ID Guide Raptors : A sampler raptor guide in PDF format
Quick Finders from The Warbler Guide : A ‘quick finder’ designed to help you identify over 50 warblers faster with targeted color photos.

Most of all, stay tuned as we continue to post everything you ever wanted to know about bird migrations throughout the fall season.

Can you spot the PUP title in this photo published in Harper’s?

“Don Sapatkin, Deputy Science & Medicine Editor, 6:44pm, 2009.” Photograph by Will Steacy from his series Deadline, which documents the past four years at the Philadelphia Inquirer.


That’s Nancy Lutkehaus’s Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon in the bottom left! The photo ran alongside David Sirota‘s report, “The Only Game in Town,” published in the September issue of Harper’s Magazine.

This Week’s Book Giveaway

This week’s book giveaway is the 10th Anniversary Edition of “Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire” by Tui de Roy. Ever since Charles Darwin visited there in 1835, the Galapagos have fascinated us like no other spot on Earth.  Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire (10th Anniversary Edition)This richly illustrated book captures the ethereal, haunting quality of the Galapagos and of the birds and animals that make these islands their home.

This updated tenth-anniversary edition of De Roy’s celebrated book offers an unforgettable photographic tour of the Galapagos. Explore with her the incredible diversity of wildlife and habitats that rank these islands among the most fascinating and exotically beautiful places in the world.

  • Features 245 stunning full-color photographs
  • Includes De Roy’s insightful commentary
  • Showcases some of the award-winning photographer’s finest work
  • Brings the natural wonders of the Galapagos to life

    “[E]ngaging and inspirational. . . . The author makes one appreciate the fragile beauty of the fiery isles.”–The Press

    Have you LIKE(d) Princeton University Press on Facebook? Yes? Then you’re in this Friday’s book giveaway random draw. If not,  go to our FACEBOOK page and click on LIKE. Each week you will be entered in our book-of-the-week giveaway.

    Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire by Tui de Roy


    FACT: The Harlem riot of 1935 not only signaled the end of the Harlem Renaissance; it made black America’s cultural capital an icon for the challenges of American modernity.

    Harlem Crossroads:
    Black Writers and the Photograph in the Twentieth Century

    By Sara Blair

    Luring photographers interested in socially conscious, journalistic, and aesthetic representation, post-Renaissance Harlem helped give rise to America’s full-blown image culture and its definitive genre, documentary. The images made there in turn became critical to the work of black writers seeking to reinvent literary forms. Harlem Crossroads examines their deep, sustained engagements with photographic practices. Arguing for Harlem as a crossroads between writers and the image, Sara Blair explores its power for canonical writers, whose work was profoundly responsive to the changing meanings and uses of photographs.

    Read the introduction online at:

    For more books in our sale catalog, please visit:

    This Week’s Book Giveaway

    MathematiciansThis week’s book giveaway is Mathematicians by Mariana Cook. All Facebookers that LIKE us are automatically entered to win. The drawing takes place this Friday.

    Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of mathematics.

    “Mariana Cook has photographed everyone from Francis Crick to Barack and Michelle Obama but has chosen to turn her lens on a slightly more obscure subject for this collection of black-and-white portraits of mathematicians. She photographed 92 in all, some just beginning their careers, others Fields Medal winners with their fame secure. Accompanying the images are personal essays in which each subject reflects on the obsessions, disappointments, and relationships that continue to endear them to their profession. What emerges is a sincere and candid look inside an often insular field.”–Seed Magazine

    Check out the author interview:

    Mathematicians by Mariana Cook.


    Book Fact Friday:  In the 1950s, synchronized flash became a standard feature on amateur cameras.

    The impact of the humble American snapshot has been anything but humble. Any American who takes a snapshot contributes to a compelling and influential genre. Since 1888, when George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera and roll film, the snapshot has not only changed everyday American life and memory; it has also changed the history of fine art photography. The distinctive subject matter and visual vocabulary of the American snapshot–its poses, facial expressions, viewpoints, framing, and themes–influenced modernist photographers as they explored spontaneity, objectivity, and new topics and perspectives. A richly illustrated chronicle of the first century of snapshot photography in America, The Art of the American Snapshot is the first book to examine the evolution of this most common form of American photography. The book shows that among the countless snapshots taken by American amateurs, some works, through intention or accident, continue to resonate long after their intimate context and original meaning have been lost.

    The catalogue of a fall 2007 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, The Art of the American Snapshot reproduces some 250 snapshots drawn from Robert Jackson’s outstanding collection and from a recent gift Jackson made to the museum. Organized decade by decade, this beautiful book traces the evolution of American snapshot imagery and describes how technical, social, and cultural factors affected the look of snapshots at different periods.

    The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978
    Sarah Greenough & Diane Waggoner
    With Sarah Kennel & Matthew S. Witkovsky

    “The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn” on and Ovation TV

    Jason Kottke is featuring some of the stunning photos from Albert Kahn’s massive collection as well as the new 9-part BBC documentary about Kahn’s global project called “The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn”  on his excellent blog.

    Ovation TV will be showing the documentary this week, so ready your sofas or DVRs. Check out the preview video below:

    Portrait-of-the-Day from Mariana Cook’s MATHEMATICIANS

    My pick this week from Mariana Cook’s new book MATHEMATICIANS: An Outer View of the Inner World is a photographic portrait of Fields Medal winner Simon Donaldson.  His area of expertise is differential and algebraic geometry and teaches at the the Imperial College London.  Simon’s subtle smile makes it seem like he knows something that I don’t-and can prove it with those perplexing equations in the background!  Enjoy!

    Portrait-of-the-Day from Mariana Cook’s MATHEMATICIANS

    Another “DeSio Pick” from Mariana Cooks’s new book MATHEMATICIANS: An Outher View of the Inner World Princeton University mathematician JÁNOS KOLLÁR poses here amongst the ivy, probably somewhere on the Princeton campus.  This photograph captures what I envision many mathematicians to be–perfectly happy sitting alone with their thoughts, thinking of new equations (and in Janos’s case, algebraic geometry!)

    Mariana Cook’s portraits of renowned MATHEMATICIANS, on SEED

    Just getting in the spirit over the publication of Mariana Cook’s moving new book MATHEMATICIANS: An Outer View of the Inner World, a remarkable collection of 92 black-and-white photographic portraits of some of the most renowned mathematicians of our time.  Our friends at have posted a multimedia slideshow featuring text to accompany each portrait and 5 audio interviews with select mathematicians.  Great stuff!

    I also wanted to post a few of my personal favorites from MATHEMATICIANS (which, by the way, would make a great gift for any budding math enthusiast!)  Today’s selection is a portrait of Shing-Tung Yau, Fields Medal winner and professor of mathematics at Harvard University.

    The Dawn of the Color Photograph, Mongolia

    I was determined to bring you back something from Mongolia, and despite the difficulties of travelling in a country without roads, I was lucky enough to encounter five Mongol villages where I found these really interesting nomads…. I was received in each village… by the chief who invited me into his tent. I had to sit on the ground, legs folded beneath me, and drink “koumis” – a horribly bitter, sickly liquor made of fermented mare’s milk. I managed to overcome my disgust and so thankfully was able to take pictures of tents, men and women. The women didn’t want their picture taken, but they were ordered to by the chief, who did everything he could to make me happy. These Mongols have a fierce pride not found among the Chinese – it was impossible to offer them anything in return, and it would have angered them to insist.

    An excerpt from a letter to Albert Kahn from Stéphane Passet, dated 24 July 1912.

    Image and text from The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet by David Okuefuna.